by Lenny Cacchio
And we declare to you glad tidings-- that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.' (Acts 13:32-33 NKJV)
One of my favorite old hymns is I Love to Tell the Story. In fact one of the lessons on preaching the gospel is implied in this hymn: “Tell the story.”
The book of Acts is loaded with sermons to the unconverted. What is so striking about them is how they differ from much of what passes for preaching these days. Look at Peter’s discourse in Acts 2 and again in Acts 3. Read Stephen’s defense in Acts 8, and Paul’s very similar sermon in the synagogue in Acts 13. They all have in common a simple relating of history and the story of Jesus. There were no rhetorical flourishes. They did not nitpick points of doctrine. The simple story of Jesus, his resurrection, and his gospel were all that were needed to convert thousands.
Some people take an adversarial approach to preaching. Get in their faces and try to convert people by showing them that all their doctrinal beliefs are wrong. Then tell them that they probably won’t understand the truth anyway.
If we take that approach we ignore the needs of the human spirit. By assuming that people won’t listen, we set ourselves up for failure. But the Apostles were effective when they told the story – the Good Story – of the kingdom of God and the hope that it gives.
We need to tell the story more and argue less.